Storm Hosts Grand Valley State to Open 2010 After Solid Play in Florida

GAME 17
Lake Erie College Storm (5-11) vs. Grand Valley State University Lakers (6-3) 
When: Saturday, Jan. 2, 2010 -- 2 p.m.
Where: Jerome T. Osborne Family Athletic and Wellness Center -Painesville, Ohio
Radio Broadcast: ESPN 970 WFUN-AM (Craig Deas, play-by-play)
Live Stats: www.lec.edu/ath_stats/livestats/mbk/xlive.htm
Series History: Grand Valley State leads, 1-0
Last Meeting (Result): Nov. 18, 2008 (GVSU won 65-63 in Allendale, Mich.)

TIP-INS

STORM WELCOMES GRAND VALLEY TO START 2010:
After wrapping up 2009 with a six-point win over the University of Missouri-St. Louis on Tuesday (Dec. 29) to finish in third place in the Holiday Inn South/Ledger Classic in Lakeland, Fla., the Lake Erie men's basketball team opens the new year with perennial GLIAC North power Grand Valley State University visiting Painesville. It is the second meeting between the schools after the Storm fell, 65-63, in last season's matchup in Allendale, Mich. on Nov. 18, 2008. The Storm is 3-2 this season at the Jerome T. Osborne Family Athletic & Wellness Center and 48-12 all-time since the opening of the Osborne Center in 2004.  

23rd SEASON OF STORM HOOPS: This is the 23rd season in Lake Erie men's basketball history, in which the Storm has posted an overall record of 186-372 (.333). However, since opening the 2002-03 season, Lake Erie is 113-92 (.551).

RANK AND FILE: If Indiana (Pa.) holds its No. 4 position in the National Association of Basketball Coaches rankings, the Storm will have played three teams that were ranked in the top four in the country when the teams matched up. The Storm met defending national champion Findlay on Nov. 24. The Oilers were ranked No. 4 at the time. Florida Southern is currently the second-ranked team in the country and, last week, the Storm fell on the Moccasins' home floor by just two points. On Feb. 8, Lake Erie has a date with current No. 4 Indiana (Pa.), which is the sixth nationally-ranked team on the Storm's slate in 2009-10.

CLOSE...OH SO CLOSE: In Monday's (Dec. 28) 88-86 loss at No. 2 Florida Southern, the Storm built an 11-point lead in the first half before the Moccasins closed the half with a 19-5 run to lead by three at the break. After Florida Southern worked its lead to a dozen in the second half, the Storm climbed back in the game, eventually taking an 86-83 lead with 1:14 to play. The Moccasins, though, hit five free throws in the last minute, including two by John Thompson with 5.7 seconds left, to keep its record unblemished at 10-0.

STORM CLOUDS

LAST TIME OUT FOR THE STORM:
Lake Erie earned a third-place showing in the Florida Southern Holiday Inn South/Ledger Classic with a 64-58 win over the University of Missouri-St. Louis on Tuesday in Lakeland, Fla. The Storm used a tight defensive effort to neutralize its own 32-percent shooting performance in the win. The Tritons led for much of the first half, eventually taking a nine-point lead with 1:08 left, but the Storm scored the last four points of the half to trail by just five at the break. UMSL built up an 11-point advantage with 14:20 to play, but Lake Erie went on a 19-4 run over the next 7:30 to take a 48-43 lead. The Tritons crept to within one point twice after that, but Lake Erie hit seven of 10 free throws in the last minute to ice the game and snap a five game losing skid. Junior guard Antonio Kidd (Cleveland, Ohio/Lakewood) had 12 of his 15 points and threes in the second half for the Storm, which also got 15 points from freshman forward Eric Worthey (South Euclid, Ohio/Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy). Forward Darnell Campbell (Cleveland, Ohio/Collinwood) added nine points and a season-high 10 rebounds.

KIDD'S CLASSIC: Prior to the win over Missouri-St. Louis, the Storm played one of its toughest games of the season against No. 2 Florida Southern. Point guard Antonio Kidd had an outstanding game against the Moccasins, scoring a game and career-high 21 points -- tied with two others, including Storm 2-guard Ethan Bradshaw (Cincinnati, Ohio/Harmony Prep) -- with four three-pointers, three rebounds and three assists in 28 minutes off the bench. It was just the second time Lake Erie head coach Cliff Hunt did not have the 5-11 Kidd in the starting lineup, choosing to go with 6-3 freshman Alex Davis (Macedonia, Ohio/Nordonia). Combined with that 21-point effort, Kidd also scored 15 with four threes and three assists in Tuesday's win over UMSL. His performance earned him a citation on the All-Classic team, leading the Storm to its 1-1 finish in Lakeland, Fla.

OFFENSIVE OUTPUT: Monday's 88-86 loss to the Moccasins featured the Storm's most impressive offensive outing of the season. It was the first time since the season-opener against Ohio Valley (a triple-overtime 86-84 win) on Nov. 15 that the Storm scored more than 73 points. Lake Erie had four players in double figures including three with 20 or more points. Antonio Kidd, Ethan Bradshaw had 21 points apiece while Darnell Campbell scored 20 points for the second consecutive game. Alex Davis chipped in 10 points. The Storm shot 52.3 percent (34-65) from the field and buried a season-high 10 three-pointers on 21 attempts.

DISHING THE ROCK: The Storm also showed a brilliant proficiency distributing the ball in the 86-point effort, handing out a season-high 21 dimes, led by Ethan Bradshaw's career-high eight assists. Darnell Campbell set a season-high with six helpers, falling just one assist short of a career-high.

3-D IS KEY: In the five Storm wins, Lake Erie has limited its opponents to just 20.0 percent (17-85) shooting from beyond the arc. But in 11 Storm losses, opponents shoot 47.5 percent (94-198) from long range. Lake Erie is 0-8 when the opponent shoots at least 40 percent from outside and 5-3 when the opponent is under 40 percent.

WINNING THE FIRST HALF: Thus far this season, the Storm can place a high importance on getting off to a strong start. The Storm is 4-0 when leading at halftime and 1-11 when trailing at the break. Also, Lake Erie is 0-8 when the opponent gets on the board first.

FROSH DEVELOPMENT: One key to the Lake Erie basketball program as it continues its transition to Division II is the development of its four-year players. Head coach Cliff Hunt may have found a gem in freshman center Garrick Sims (Barberton, Ohio/Barberton). The 6-8 Sims is averaging 7.1 points and 5.2 rebounds. He is also fourth on the team with 21 assists. His 57.3 field-goal percentage is second on the team.